Today the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction announced the state has 2,277 more newly-certified National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) teachers. The 2010 awardees bring the state’s total of NBPTS teachers to 17,957, by far the largest number of such teachers of any state.
Excuse me if I’m not doing cartwheels. While, I’m a big fan of teachers and the work they do, I’m not a fan of NBPTS. Why? It’s simple: there is no linkage between teacher certification and student achievement. The research on NBPTS has been lukewarm. I’ve written about my NBPTS misgivings here and here.
Despite the lack of evidence we continue to provide generous salary supplements for teachers with NBPTS certification and continue to offer favorable loan terms (i.e., the state provides loans which can be repaid over 3 years to cover application costs) to encourage teachers to seek certification. Teachers with NBPTS certification receive an immediate 12 percent salary increment. Yes, I said 12 percent. The Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly estimates that in 2009 NC spent $67.5 million on the NBPTS program, about $64 million went to pay salary differentials. That’s a lot of money to invest in a program with questionable results. For the same money, 1,227 teachers could be hired or a merit pay program established. Considering the NC’s budget crisis, it’s an option that should be given serious consideration.